A high-ranking Time Warner Cable executive is leaving the company after being credited as one of the people most responsible for moving the company into the sports channel business. The Los Angeles Times reports that TWC Sports President David B. Rone is headed out the door.
“A former Creative Artists Agency agent, Rone helped launch Time Warner Cable SportsNet and the Spanish-language outlet Time Warner Cable Deportes, which showcase the Los Angeles Lakers,” the Times reports. “Those two channels launched successfully in 2012 but ratings have slipped amid the Lakers’ on-the-court struggles.”
The report adds: “Time Warner Cable’s venture with the Dodgers, SportsNet LA, stumbled out of the gate with no major pay-TV operators beyond Time Warner Cable agreeing to carry the channel, limiting its visibility and stunting its ratings.”
SportsNet LA has been losing more than $100 million a year for TWC, the report notes, with major outlets in the area, including AT&T, DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS still refusing to carry the channel.
Rone’s move, which was reportedly not a surprise, comes as TWC has been cutting costs and laying off staffers, the Times notes, and just weeks after TWC canceled a number of programs, including “Dodgers Clubhouse” and “Larry King at Bat.”
It also comes as a takeover of TWC by Charter Communications is in the works, with the FCC currently reviewing the proposed acquisition.
“Should Charter take over Time Warner Cable, that company probably would install its own team,” the Times reports. “Time Warner Cable said it has no plans to hire a replacement. The current general manager of the regional sports networks, Mark Shuken, is expected to continue in his current role.”
Rone is expected to exit at the end of this week, but will maintain a consulting role at least through the end of the year.